SATURDAY, March 28, 2020

Philippians 3:10-11
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

*****

Brothers and sisters in Christ,

I’ve noticed in my life that the purpose of Lent can get lost in the attempt to “better myself” or to make myself better. Naturally, there always seems to be something to change or to do better, or something to improve my inner self. Of course, there is a degree of self-control to most of these actions because of human nature: to attempt to do something alone, even when it is borderline impossible to do so. We are capable of attempting to walk on our own because of our God-given free will.

The concept that God gave us free will fascinates me, because it makes me think about why God would give it to us in the first place, especially when we can do so much harm with it. After much thought and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that God gave us free will so that we can choose to give our lives to him. We get to choose whether or not we are in relationship with him, and we get to decide how deep we want that relationship to go. Unfortunately, the flip side of that coin is that it allows us to turn away from God easily, even when doing something meant to bring us closer to him and help us to understand his love.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians (co-authored by Timothy) is probably best known for the verse that states that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (4:13). While this is an incredible verse for perseverance in Lent, I think chapter 3, verses 10 and 11 really hit the mark on what the purpose of Lent is, and how we can bring ourselves closer to God through it. For me, before I could bring myself to get closer to God through Lent, I needed to understand my purpose in doing so. While the purpose of Lent is well known, it is still incredibly easy to lose it when the world does it for their own gain, and not for God. In school, I constantly hear about what people are giving up for Lent, but God is virtually never mentioned. While I must admit that the action bugs me, it makes it tough for me to remember God in those moments.

Therefore, we all must come together in our struggle during these 40 days. Through our love, actions, and thoughtful reflection, we can work together to remember and more deeply understand Jesus’ love for us and grow deeper into a relationship with him. Hopefully, with God’s help, we will all be able to understand Jesus Christ a little more when Lent concludes and know him a little more fully.

Allan Hegedus